“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Three Forks in Gallatin County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)

Ruby Theatre

Ruby Theatre Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 27, 2021
1. Ruby Theatre Marker
Inscription.  The town of Three Forks, born to serve as a division point for the Chicago, St. Paul, and Milwaukee Railway, took root in 1908. As the town grew to a sizable settlement of 2,300, the Empire Theatre opened to serve local audiences. Manager David R. “Slim” Byrd attracted traveling troupes on their way to other destinations. In August 1912, Byrd held a grand re-opening of his newly remodeled “amusement house.” He renamed it the Ruby Theatre after Ruby Langdon, a local teenager who not only knew how to recruit talent but was also a well-loved local singer. A few weeks later, David Byrd married nineteen-year-old Ruby and soon sold the theater. New owner E. C. Waddell brought the first silent movies to Three Forks including “The Idler” (1914), “Anna Karenina” (1915), and “The Girl I Left Behind Me” (1915). Theater[M1] -goers also enjoyed live road shows, traveling magicians, and high school plays. The present building of concrete faced with red brick replaced the old frame theater in 1916. Butte architect Wellington Smith designed the building—a grand undertaking for a small community. The new Ruby Theatre had an auditorium seating 400 and two commercial
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storefronts while the second floor housed professional offices. As “talkies” replaced silent movies, the Ruby continued to offer community entertainment linking Three Forks to the world through newsreels, epic movies, and famous actors. The Ruby provided entertainment until the 1970s. The historic theater retains most of its original design elements including its pressed metal cornice, original nameplate, decorative brickwork, and arched second-story windows.
Erected by Montana Historical Society.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Montana National Register Sign Program series list. A significant historical month for this entry is August 1912.
Location. 45° 53.557′ N, 111° 33.15′ W. Marker is in Three Forks, Montana, in Gallatin County. Marker is on South Main Street near West Cedar Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 212 South Main Street, Three Forks MT 59752, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Adams Block (within shouting distance of this marker); Three Valleys State Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); Methodist Episcopal Church, Three Forks (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Sacajawea
Ruby Theatre and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 26, 2021
2. Ruby Theatre and Marker
(approx. 0.2 miles away); In Patriotic Memory of Sacajawea (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sacajawea Hotel (approx. 0.2 miles away); Thunder Horses (approx. 0.2 miles away); Veterans Park (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Three Forks.
Ruby Theatre image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Barry Swackhamer, July 26, 2021
3. Ruby Theatre
Credits. This page was last revised on February 27, 2022. It was originally submitted on February 27, 2022, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 73 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 27, 2022, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.

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Feb. 20, 2024